5 Awards-Friendly Japanese Films to Put You in the Oscars Mood

Source: Gaijin Pot

Japan has two major motion pictures nominated for Academy Awards in 2019. When the Oscars ceremony broadcasts live in the U.S. on Sunday, February 26, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters and Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai will be competing for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature Film, respectively.

Both movies will face some stiff competition in their categories. Shoplifters is going up against Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which is nominated for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film and is currently streaming on Netflix Japan. Mirai is going up against the widely acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which finally hits theaters in Japan on Friday, March 8.

Being a movie lover in Japan sometimes means waiting many extra months to see Hollywood films. Conversely, if you’re a cinephile, this is the time of year when you might be shifting into drama mode, looking to catch up on buzzed-about films as they gain recognition on the awards circuit. Prized trophy ceremonies like the Oscars do tend to favor more straight-laced dramas over genre films.

With this list, we’ll take a look at five Japanese movies (including the two already mentioned) that have received awards recognition or other important distinctions internationally. Unless otherwise noted, all of these films should be available via one or more home media outlets like Tsutaya, Amazon, or iTunes.

1. Shoplifters (2018)

Shoplifters ©2018 FUJI TELEVISION NETWORK/GAGA CORPORATION/AOI PRO. INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Even before Shoplifters received its Oscar nomination, it had already garnered significant accolades abroad. The movie’s long awards march began when it premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it took home its highest honor — the Palme d’Or or Golden Palm trophy. In the 2019 Japan Academy Prize competition (or Japanese Academy Awards), the film is also nominated for Picture of the Year. Director Hirokazu …continue reading